author: Sarah Dunant
This author also wrote The Birth of Venus about the Medicis and Florence and art.
This book is set in Venice mostly, in the mid 1500s. The narrator is a dwarf who is the general factotum for the courtesan. The story is seen through his eyes - the work he has to do, the assumptions he makes.
There are some twists, and the plot takes a major turn after he falls into the canal and becomes very ill.
I'd recently read a book based on a fantasy version of Venice (Stravaganza)... it was fun to try to compare landmarks.
It was a fun, satisfying read.